WBC adopts extra-inning rule

NEW YORK -- The ridiculed international rule to start an extra inning with two runners on base will be used at this year's World Baseball Classic, where it will be implemented beginning in the 13th.

Under the rule, each half-inning starting with the 13th will begin with runners on first and second. The regular batting order will be used from where it was the previous inning.

Major League Baseball said a decision has not been made whether to use the rule in the championship game, scheduled for March 23 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

Before the Olympics, the International Baseball Federation adopted a rule that it said would be used at all tournaments it sanctions. That rule stated that each half-inning starting with the 11th would begin with runners on first and second and that teams could use their batting orders from any point.

"Discussion of ending a game in a timely fashion has been going on for years," IBAF president Harvey Schiller said at the time.

Pitch limits, another deviation from baseball rules, will be used for the WBC, as they were in the initial tournament in 2006. There will be a limit of 70 pitches per pitcher in the first round, 85 in the second, and 100 in the semifinals and final. That's up from 65-80-95 three years ago.

Any pitcher who throws 30 or more pitches in the semis will not be eligible to pitch in the final.

The WBC adopted MLB's video replay rules for boundary calls and a 2008 MLB rule change that base coaches must wear protective helmets.

In addition, each team must announce its probable starting pitcher for the next day.